Seattle, the Emerald City
We were welcomed to the Emerald City in the Evergreen State with cool, soft grey skies that gave way to peeks of pale sunshine.
Dana and I were in Seattle for BlogHer Food ’12. It was an opportunity to learn and re-connect with blogger friends. Quite honestly, we both needed a break from all of the sadness of the last few weeks and this trip to Seattle provided a much-needed break.
I promised myself that I would not show multiple pictures of folks mostly hidden behind microphones in this post. So, I’ll just say that there were many inspiring speeches and interesting lessons learned and wonderful sponsors…thank you. Also, I’d like to give a big shout out to The Fairmont Olympic Hotel…they really made us feel at home, special, pampered and very well fed…I’m going to dream about that smoked salmon!
What I thought you might enjoy hearing about was our experience of the Seattle food scene and their famous Pike Place Market.
Last week in Chicago I met fellow blogger and author, Janine MacLachlan (Rustic Kitchen, Farmers’ Markets of the Heartland), who suggested we go to Alki Beach which would give us an great view of the city and a chance to taste a simple, local favorite, Spud. Janine said that they made the best fish and chips. Spud advertises itself as the oldest fast food restaurant in Seattle. I have to say, it was very fast and very delicious.
We chose to go with the classic fish and chips, featuring double batter dipped (really) fresh cod…the crust crackled with crispness and fish nestled inside was flaky and tender. It was served with thick, savory, pickle-filled tartar sauce and homemade infused vinegars (our favorite was the garlic).
We didn’t want to fill up though, because in a few hours we had a reservation at Cascina Spinasse recommended by Seattle native, Michael Natkin, whose blog and latest book is Herbivoracious. Spinasse is an unpretentious restaurant filled with wood plank tables and rustic Italian food. Since we had shared our lunch, we arrived hungry. We couldn’t resist the asparagi e prosciutto cotto, roasted and chilled asparagus with boiled Italian ham, crushed egg and herbs. It was a delightful, well-balanced dish that was light and perfect for a spring night.
We were told by Michael that we had to order the Tajarin, which is freshly made egg pasta that comes with either ragu or butter and sage. We hungrily ate the perfectly prepared pasta with butter and sage and went on to enjoy the costollette di agnello, which are breaded lamb chop cutlets with fresh fava beans. OK, at this point we’re pretty full, but there’s always room for dessert, right?
We ended with a delightful panna cotta with cherries… we shared, so it was fairly guilt free.
On Saturday we were off to the Pike Place Market.
There, we were drawn to the large crowd that had grown around the Pike Place Fish Market. Be careful if you go (and maybe even duck when you place an order)… they throw your catch over the counter to be wrapped while shouting and repeating the order…”one small salmon, one small salmon, one small salmon.” If you’re nice enough to leave a tip, they shout “we gotta tip, we gotta tip, we gotta tip,” to the delight of the crowd.
This is a company with a great sense of humor. We had to indulge in the “fat” dungeness crab cocktail that was on ice and ready to go. It was ocean fresh and oh-so sweet…it really didn’t need any cocktail sauce.
Of course there were veggies, some exotic and some familiar.
Handmade bouquets were everywhere…I was drawn to these California poppies, so simple, so perfect.
Outside the street performers entertained the children with all kinds of music and magic.
We had to see the original Starbucks, but the line was so long we didn’t have time to go in and indulge…so we stayed outside and enjoyed one of the best street bands.
The fun and quirky, Millionaires Club.
You just can’t go to Seattle and not eat oysters (well, if you like them, that is). We were steered to one of Seattle oldest at the end of Pier 56, Elliot’s.
There, we indulged in some varieties that we were not familiar with, Penn Cove and Deer Creek, but we had to have some of our favorite, Kusshi oysters.
They had a crisp, local Pinot Blanc from Foris Winery that was the perfect partner.
Ah…at last! These really might have been the freshest oysters that I have ever eaten. We understand that there is a new oyster spot in Ballard named The Walrus and the Carpenter…that’s on our list for next time.
We were sorry our trip had to end.
Thank you Seattle for a wonderful visit!